The racist subtext of the evacuation story

On Tuesday, when at least 35 Lebanese were killed, we had the BBC’s Ben Brown in Beirut giving a blow-by-blow account of every facet of the evacuation of foreign nationals in general and British nationals in particular. If anyone doubted the racism of our Western media, here it was proudly on display. The BBC apparently considers their Beirut reporter’s first duty to find out what meals HMS Gloucester’s chef will be preparing for the evacuees. Lebanese and Palestinian civilians die unnoticed by the Western media while we learn of onboard sleeping arrangements on the ship bound for Cyprus. 

A New Middle East is Born: But not exactly the one Shimon Peres had in mind

Six long, bloodstained days have passed since Israel launched its barbaric attack on Lebanon without succeeding in exacting a significant military toll on the resistance itself. Six days are exactly what it took Israel to deal a crushing and humiliating military defeat to the largely inferior armies of Egypt, Syria and Jordan in June 1967, and to subsequently occupy the Palestinian Gaza Strip and West Bank, including East Jerusalem, the Syrian Golan Heights, and the Egyptian Sinai peninsula. How the “Middle East” has changed in the past 4 decades! Indeed, thanks to the Lebanese resistance, and to an extent its Palestinian counterpart, this volatile zone is undergoing radical transformation. 

Today's war in Lebanon: The latest chapter of the original 1948 conflict

On the morning of Wednesday, 12 July 2006, members of Hizbullah penetrated the Israeli-Lebanese border, conducting a military operation that resulted in the killing of three Israeli soldiers and the abduction of two. Hizbullah demanded the release of Palestinian and Lebanese prisoners in exchange for releasing the two abducted soldiers. Since then, Israel has carried a savage military campaign against Lebanon, first under the excuse of retrieving the two soldiers, but now under the excuse of also destroying Hizbullah and making sure that it not operate against Israel, the same excuse it gave about the PLO when it invaded Lebanon in the summer of 1982. 

The Army Wants Action: The great fiasco

What is Israel’s running wild likely to achieve? Not much. As for the captured soldiers, any action other than negotiations is gambling with their lives, as their families now start to say out louder. As for the missiles shot from Gaza, the military could not stop them when it was sitting inside the Strip - obviously, it cannot stop them by casual incursions and air bombing. As for Lebanon, the disproportional Israeli reaction made Hezbollah fire missiles at the whole of northern Israel, both at communities that had enjoyed relative quiet since 2000 and at places that had never experienced any Lebanese missiles before. 

What they want is the head of the resistance movement

It’s war again. As in the past, it’s an Israeli war in terms of the men and material; a joint Israeli-American war in terms of its declared and implied political aims. We must prepare for a long, bitter, and costly confrontation because the first aim of the war is to change the rules of the game radically in Lebanon, for starters, then in its neighbor Palestine, then in the rogue state Syria and rebellious Iran. Nothing but an excuse is the claim that this is a response to the successful capture by Hizballah fighters of two Israeli soldiers (with the aim of securing the release of Lebanese prisoners who have languished in Israeli jails for decades). 

What Does Israel Want?

I have been teaching in the Israeli universities for 25 years. Several of my students were high ranking officers in the army. I could see their growing frustration since the outbreak of the first Intifada in 1987. They detested this kind of confrontation, called euphemistically by the gurus of the American discipline of International Relations: ‘low intensity conflict’. It was too low to their taste. Even when the army used tanks and F-16s, it was a far cry from the war games the officers played in the Israeli Matkal – headquarters – and for which they bought, with American tax payer money – the most sophisticated and updated weaponry existing in the market. 

Israel should seek wise enemies

“A wise enemy is better than a foolish friend,” says the old adage. It is one that Israel should heed. In its historic conflict with the Arabs, Israel got used to easy victories and was always tempted for more. It won wars on several fronts in 1947-48, 1967 and in 1973. In 1956, Israel spearheaded the tripartite Anglo-French-Israeli aggression on Egypt and in record speed defeated the Egyptian army, occupied the Gaza Strip and the entire Sinai up to the shores of the Suez Canal. A major part of Israel’s political planning was to build right from the beginning a military force strong enough to ensure superiority in all its confrontations with its neighbours. 

A hard rain's gonna fall

The Israeli Defense Forces have named their relentless military operation in Gaza “Summer Rain,” which is cruel and sarcastic given the political, historical, and environmental context of the Eastern Mediterranean. From early May to mid-September, one can expect clear skies and no precipitation. What is raining, though, is fire and metal, along with leaflets bearing chillingly familiar threats. The Middle East is in dire need of the refreshing rains of law, justice, sanity, and wisdom. The clouds on the horizon, though, are full of fire and death, not life-giving water.